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Bellflower : Refinance Plan Questioned

May 07, 1987

A group of Bellflower residents concerned about the legality of a proposal to refinance the bonds that paid for the building of the civic center complex has asked the Los Angeles County Grand Jury to investigate.

City officials say they expect to receive $1.25 million from refinancing the notes issued in 1981 to pay for City Hall if they can refinance at a favorable interest rate.

However, refinancing will mean future taxpayers will face an additional $5.2-million debt that will take 10 years to pay off, according to Ronald Price, president of the 10-member Bellflower Citizens Concerned.

"We are talking about paying $5 million for a $1.25-million loan that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for," Price said. "We just want to know if this is right."

Michael A. Sakamoto, assistant city administrator, said the proposal is legal. "If Mr. Price is questioning the city's wisdom in doing this, that's his prerogative," Sakamoto said. "What we are doing is correct."

Sakamoto said the City Council will postpone action on the proposal to see if interest rates, which have risen dramatically in the last month, again become favorable. The extra funds the city would raise from the refinancing have not been earmarked for any specific project. Sakamoto said city officials are considering several, including a teen center or pool at Simms Park, a water reclamation project, more storm drains, and consolidation of the city's seven water companies.

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